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Improving Learning
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Book description

Improving Learning centres on the findings from different areas of education-focused research that support evidence-informed teaching and contextualises these results to optimise decision-making in schools. It also describes the origins and principles of meta-analysis in education and how this identifies the successes in improving learning in classrooms. Moreover, it explains the thinking behind the 'Teaching and Learning Toolkit' and similar approaches, which seek a big-picture overview of research findings. The advantages and disadvantages of this approach are explored with practical examples. Additionally, it identifies the issues in using research evidence in education and the steps that can be taken to improve this. It is not a manual on how to conduct a meta-analysis; instead the focus is on developing understanding of the approach in order to present its strengths and weaknesses. This understanding can advance critical engagement and effective use to improve educational outcomes for children and young people.


‘Higgins is our greatest education evidence map-maker, a pioneer who has bridged the divide between the worlds of academia and classroom practice. His meta-syntheses, summarised in our toolkit, have transformed the working lives of teachers. Evidence does not deliver crude diktats of ‘what works' in learning, but it is the best bet to enlighten and empower education professionals – that's Higgins' ‘meta' take-home message.'

Lee Elliot Major - Chief Executive, The Sutton Trust

‘As a former teacher, Professor Higgins makes sure that his informed analysis never loses sight of the ultimate goal - to improve learning in the classroom. This is an interesting, accessible and personal account, underpinned with concrete discussion of how meta-analysis can inform our approach to teaching and learning, and what its limitations are. Essential reading for anyone who wants to use evidence to make a difference.'

Danielle Mason - Head of Research, Education Endowment Foundation

‘Professor Higgins writes persuasively about the power of educational research to improve teaching and learning. Meta-analysis emphasises the importance of looking at the totality of evidence on a given issue, and not merely cherry-picking convenient and attractive results. This book is a great introduction to the art and science of meta-analysis, showing how research synthesis can give us ‘big picture' answers to important practical questions.'

James Thomas - University College London

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